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A Petrobras director is suspected of organizing a strike to force an agreement that would cause losses of R$500 million.

A Petrobras director is suspected of organizing a strike to force an agreement that would cause losses of R$500 million.

Petrobras has opened an investigation to investigate the details of a contract with petrochemical company Unigel that would cause an estimated loss of R$500 million to the state-owned company. The company is investigating whether William France, an industrial operations executive and former director of the United Oil Workers Union (FUP), simulated a strike at Unigel's fertilizer units to push for the contract to be signed.

According to the newspaper the worldIn a chat on Microsoft Teams, an app used for virtual meetings, the manager reportedly mentioned the need to organize a strike. This would justify the rush to complete the contract, given that without it the factories would close. The consequences will be union reactions and possible strikes at the oil company.

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Fransa, who also chairs Transpetro's board, is facing scrutiny over the management of Petrobras CEO Jean-Paul Prats. Recently, there have been reports of pressure on subordinates to complete the deal.

The contract under investigation was signed on December 29, 2023, at a time when the fertilizer plants leased to Unigel were facing closure due to financial problems.

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Under the agreement, Petrobras will supply natural gas for the production and sale of fertilizers. The feasibility of the operation was questioned by both the company's technicians and the Federal Audit Court (TCU), which predicted a loss of R$487 million in eight months due to the disparity between gas and fertilizer prices.

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Minister Benjamin Seemler, of TCU, highlighted in the situation report that France acted outside the scope of corporate governance by signing the contract without the approval of higher authorities.

“The hypothesis used to justify hiring Traffic fees“This increases the possibility that the dismissals, which occurred within the Unigel Group, will provoke strike movements within Petrobras,” the court minister said. “If this risk classification logic prevailed, Petrobras would then be affected by strike action whenever private companies fire their employees or leave them dissatisfied.”

Cell phones belonging to France and CFO Sergio Caetano Leite were seized as part of the investigationwhich also includes analyzing messages in Teams.

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The internal audit, under the supervision of KPMG, seeks to clarify the circumstances surrounding the signing of the contract, with the results being presented before the closing of Petrobras’ financial statements, on March 7. To date, the relevant directors and Petrobras have not commented on the ongoing investigations.

In an official note, Petrobras defended the legality of the contract with Unigel and stressed that the process respected the company's governance and internal procedures.

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